On August 25, 2017 at approximately 10:00PM, Hurricane Harvey slammed ashore at Rockport, Texas, with sustaining winds of 130mph. Over the next 4-5 days, it moved inland about 50 miles, then turned back out to the Gulf, meandered just offshore Houston and Bay City and finally came ashore again at Cameron, Louisiana. Over the period of time that it lingered in or around Houston, it dropped approximately 9 trillion gallons of water in the Greater Houston area, Katy to Bay City, the Woodlands to Clear Lake. To put this volume of water in perspective, if this volume was in a cylinder one mile square, about the size of the Inner Loop of Houston, the column of water such a cylinder would create would be 8 miles tall, a column reaching a higher point than the peak of Mt Everest.
This truly was a storm for the ages…and in its wake a treasure trove of heroic stories were spawned. Consumption of alcoholic beverages and addictive substances spiked, and I am sure that there were instances of pretty bad behavior resulting there from. But the dominant behavior patterns seemed much more of the heroic, good-Samaritan type where people of all walks of life reached out to help everyone, thousands of people stranded in muddy, putrid water.
The storm affected everyone. The sight of the man of means struggling to salvage precious possessions wading out of his palatial house in waist-deep, flowing water to get to high ground, only to stop to help an elderly neighbor not able to get there, losing some of his possessions in the process. It was all repeated over and over.
The concept of the hero’s journey played out in everyone’s psyche. For the recovering alcoholic or addict, the ability to use the tools of recovery, the boon of the hero’s journey, allowed him/her to stay in the moment, serenely focused on the needs of those helpless souls who were otherwise stranded. Service in the highest tradition of the 12th Step. What a great gift it all was for all of us….